Increasing 'Toxicity' in TV and Social Media: Raghav Chadha and SRK raise issue

Concerns raised by Raghav Chadha over toxicity in TV debates in the Parliament were echoed by Shah Rukh Khan at the Kolkata International Film Festival

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Getty Images

NH Political Bureau

From the parliament to the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), the word “toxicity” dominated discussions on Thursday.  

While Parliament witnessed a war of words between AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Raghav Chadha and Information Broadcast minister Anurag Thakur, Bollywood star Sharukh Khan flagged the issue of rising toxicity on social media in his inaugural speech at Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).  

Chadha, the youngest MP in Rajya Sabha posed a supplementary question on Thursday and asked what measures the government is taking against toxic TV debates.  

Anurag Thakur replied, “If you feel there is any such complaint, then give it to us in writing”.  

 “Deputy chairman sir (Harivansh Narayan Singh) you yourself have been a journalist and you understand the importance of news and how news is turning into noise. My question is simple, most channels in this country every day from 5pm to 11 pm arrange toxic TV debates and create psychological pollution. My question is the government taking any action against such inflammatory channels and anchors?” Chadha asked in the upper house of the parliament which is known as the “house of the elders”. 

Replying to Chadha, Thakur who was brutally trolled by his supporters for not speaking up against Nadav Lapid who called The Kashmir Files “vulgar” said:  

“It’s very clear, there are three levels in these cases. 1) The issue is resolved on the channel level 2) It is resolved on the association level if it does not resolve then it reaches the interdepartmental committee. Till now we haven’t received any such complaints of toxic or inflammatory programs yet,” said Thakur.  

Concerns raised by Chadha over toxicity in TV debates in parliament, Delhi were echoed by Shah Rukh Khan in Kolkata – though in different ways.  

Khan, whose upcoming film Pathaan is facing boycott-threats by the right-wing ecosystem, said that the toxicity on social media is destroying collective narratives.  

In his inaugural speech at KIFF, Khan said that the collective narratives in recent times have often been shaped by social media, which is often driven by a narrowness of views.  

“This sense of negativity often increases the social media consumption, and such pursuits often enclose collective narrative and makes it more divisive and destructive,” said Khan, who is also the brand ambassador of West Bengal. 

He also said that cinema now has a more important role to play in spreading that message of the collective narrative. 

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